True Blue
from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

April 2008

(April 16, 1979 - April 15, 2008)

This month the blues world mourns the death of stellar blues guitarist Sean Costello. Piedmont Talent and Delta Groove Productions reported that Sean died in an Atlanta hotel the evening of April 15th, just a day before his 29th birthday. His newest CD "We Can Get Together" was just released in February. Sean Costello was one of the most exciting and vital young performers on the contemporary blues music scene.

For a review of the artist's final CD release, visit Blues Blast magazine online at:

Additional web links of interest on Sean Costello and his music are:


Quad Cities' native son of the blues Michael 'Hawkeye' Herman has dedicated his life's work to the preservation of the blues through his recordings, live concert performances, educational workshops at festivals here and abroad, and his blues education presentations in schools around the world. You can now view the recently aired PBS/"Oregon Art Beat" video segment with Michael 'Hawkeye' Herman at his Blues In The Schools program with students at Eagle Rock Elementary School., Eagle Point, Oregon - now on the web at: .

A member of the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame (inducted in 2004), and Blues Foundation's 1998 "Keeping The Blues Alive" Award recipient for achievement in education, (Hawkeye has presented his in-school blues program for 30 years, in over 500 schools (all levels), in 22 states, 5 countries, and to over 1/2 million students.) For more information on Michael 'Hawkeye' Herman, visit on the web. You can also see and hear many of the songs on the new Hawkeye DVD for free at:


"The Original Eric Noden," Eric Noden (Diving Duck Records) Illinois Entertainer has this to say about Eric Noden. "As a spiritual heir to Chicago blues guitarists of the '20s and '30s like Tampa Red and Big Bill Broonzy, this multi-talented acoustic artist fills an important niche in the city's mostly plugged-in blues scene." His music is deeply rooted in the true blues music of the 1920's & 30's. He is truly a one-man band, gifted songwriter, an accomplished actor and educator - who revitalizes and delivers the traditional blues and roots music. "The Original Eric Noden" features 13 new original songs, all written, produced, and arranged by the artist himself. This newest recording from Eric Noden showcases blues, jazz, swing, and R&B influences from the 1920's to the 1950's. Very special guests on the CD include Noden's longtime associate and blues brother harmonica master Joe Filisko, Memphis guitarist Andy Cohen, and Jimmy Sutton on bass. For more information on Eric Noden, visit on the web.

"Let Life Flow," Kenny Neal (Blind Pig Records) Due out May 10, 2008, this new release from Kenny Neal marks his the official return to the blues and roots music recording scene. After a year of health issues and the multiple losses of immediate family members and his drummer, Kenny Neal emerges as living proof of the healing power of the blues. In a correspondence to his fans this past November the artist expressed his appreciation for their support through the trials and tribulations of the previous year. "In my year of recuperation I've had a lot of time to count my blessings and right there at the top of the list is the great joy my fans bring to me. I have not only restored my health in the past year but I have secured a place for my fans in my heart forever. Your letters and emails and prayers have played a major role in my recovery." The new CD is evidence beyond the shadow of a doubt that Kenny Neal is back. This new collection features Kenny Neal on guitar, bass, harmonica and vocals, Kenny Neal, Jr. on keyboards and percussion, and special guest Lucky Peterson on piano and organ, in addition to a superb line up of backing musicians and vocalists. For more information on Kenny Neal, visit his web site at:


I look forward to working with true bluesman Mr. Hal Reed as an educational co-presenter at BlueSKool on July 4 & 5 at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival this year. We'll be featuring some of our Winter Blues participants from River Music Experience (RME) on Friday and Saturday, starting at 2:30 each day, with a Winter Blues Kids Jam daily at 3:45. BlueSKool will conclude each day with a presentation by blues educator and harmonica wizard David Berntson. It was an honor to work with Hal Reed and MVBS on the Winter Blues program at RME this past December, and I'm very excited to be a part of the BlueSKool program at this year's Blues Fest. My personal thanks to Hal Reed and the Mississippi Valley Blues Society for making it possible. For complete information on this year's Blues Fest, visit: on the web.

Local musician Ellis Kell writes about blues music both local and national in "True Blue", each month in the Entertainment section of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, online at and . He is Director of Programming & Education for the River Music Experience, a registered nonprofit helping build the Quad Cities music scene - through diverse live music and educational programming. He also hosts 'Currents at the Crossroads' musical segment of WQPT's Life & Times.

Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2014. There are 72 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The store of Devoe and Crampton was entered and robbed of about $500 worth of gold pens and pocket cutlery last night.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Michael Malloy was named president of the Tri-City Stone Cutters Union.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dewitte C. Poole, former Moline newspaperman serving as vice consul general for the United States government in Paris, declared in a letter to friends that the once gay Paris is a city of sadness and desolation.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for the construction of an $80,000 wholesale bakery at 2011 4th Ave. were announced by Harry and Nick Coin, of Rock Island. It is to be known as the Banquet Bakery.
1964 -- 50 years ago: An application has been filed for a state permit to organize a savings and loan association in Moline, it was announced. The applicants are Ben Butterworth, A.B. Lundahl, C. Richard Evans, John Harris, George Crampton and William Getz, all of Moline, Charles Roberts, Rock Island, and Charles Johnson, of Hampton.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Indian summer is quickly disappearing as temperatures slide into the 40s and 50s this week. Last week, highs were in the 80s.

(More History)